Archives for April 2012


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I see me looking back at me.

I’m kind of introspective anyway, I spend a lot of time in my head. I spend a lot of time thinking, rethinking, overthinking and thinking some more. And when I think I’ve thought all I can think… then I do more thinking.

And sometimes it’s useful and I can calculate and solve and come up with solutions, and sometimes? I can’t.

I’ve spent a lot of time in my head lately, and frankly I wish I could get a break from it.

Open up my head and let me out…

(No. I don’t make a habit of quoting Dave Matthews’ songs)

Most of the time I really love my introspective way. I love how I am secure in my head and I have confidence that I can solve anything, figure anything out.

Sometimes the thinking is decidedly tougher.

Right now, I spend a lot of time thinking. And it sucks, it really sucks. I’m starting to hate thinking – starting to envy the stupid people who can go days or weeks without ever really rubbing coherent thoughts together.


Thursday Ten: Bloggedy Blogging Daughter edition

1. The Princess has started a blog. She asked, it was her idea – a friend of hers has one. This morning she published her first post. While I won’t be sharing the link here, I have to say I am so proud of my kiddo, and really do look forward to seeing where this takes her (Maybe she can start reviewing cool stuff too and give me her leftover swag – wouldn’t that be nice?). I’m a big believer in writing, though, and that the more you write, the better you get. Even if only family ever reads her blog, that’s cool – I love that she now has another outlet for expressing herself.

2. It’s staff appreciation week in my office. As you can imagine, after working from home for so many years – and before that for the same company (one that didn’t even have a holiday party), it’s kind of amazing to see the cool things they do to show us they care. A cookies and milk break the other afternoon, and yesterday a pretty nice luncheon (a great meal, fun dessert, and even a bar). I love that they do these things here – not only because it’s awesome to feel your work matters but because it really is fun.
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3. Pumpkin started talking about flowers dying the other day and it triggered my memory. “The flowers you gave me are just about to die…” I’ve had that old Tiffany song stuck in my head for a few days now. I have no qualms in admitting that yeah, it made me go to iTunes and download some of Tiffany’s greatest hits (NOT entirely sure how they managed to fill a whole album, but man, I hear those songs and I’m a kid again! I was probably about The Princess’s age when those songs came out!).

4. I have been dealing with the sinus infection from hell over the past week. As I type this, I’m coughing so hard that I think I’m going to develop six-pack abs from all the ab clenching. It’s been a pretty miserable go of it – I am feeling better than I was, but still not great enough that I risk spreading my germs to my lovely niece or to my friends new daughter – so I have not seen any of the babies in awhile. That’s no fun. When I saw my doc last week she said, “You have some bad luck with those sinuses, Sarah,” but when I asked her if she would surgically remove them she said no. (Do they even do that? It sounds awful, doesn’t it?)

5. Despite being sick, I went to shoot a family portrait session on Sunday and it was precisely what I needed at the time. It’s funny how I can feel like such garbage and then I pick up the Canon and… it helps. It was a fun shoot, with fun kids. I even managed to incorporate a John Deere tractor.

6. On the book front, being absolutely sick with cooties means that I missed Monday night’s book club meeting, which means that I didn’t vote in this month’s selection. To say I’m underwhelmed would be an understatement, but it is what it is and part of the thing that is supposed to be great about book club is to read things you wouldn’t otherwise, right? And I’m saying that no, I probably wouldn’t otherwise even look twice at The Aviary, this month’s book. I just ordered it, and as it’s a Young Adult book, I figure worst case scenario, The Princess may enjoy it when I’m done. Actually it seems like the exact kind of book MY NINE YEAR OLD WOULD ENJOY.

7. HOWEVER, if you want to read something funny, I urge you to pick up Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) which is (as you probably know) written by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. From her latest post, it’s currently #1 on the NYT Best Sellers List for nonfiction, so I’m sure you are all reading it already anyway. But if you’re not? It’s funny so do it.

8. Less than a month until Boston and the Avon Walk. I’m getting excited. It’s a lot of work, and I’m starting to get a little bit antsy about getting on a plane, but, yeah. Excited.

9. Playoff season was far too short for the RedWings this year. HUGE bummer.

10. I’m loving this cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that I saw posted a few days ago. I’ve always loved this song, but this version is beautiful and adds an element of haunting prettiness (listen, you’ll see what I mean) to the original lyrics.

The Awesome Book is Awesome.

I may just be a little bit in love with Dallas Clayton right now. Can I say that? Because even though I had no idea who he was before I received this book, I really kind of loved this book. Hard. And not only did I love this book, but my daughters did as well. If you can please all three of us picky-cranky-curmudgeonly reviewers, well, then you’ve got yourself a winner.

I guess I am the ideal target for books like this. Not only do I love children’s books, I love children’s books that encourage our children to dream, reach, achieve and to let them think all of the magical things in the world could be so.

There are places in the world where people do not dream of rocket-powered unicorns…

And so begins “An Awesome Book!” with it’s vivid and engaging illustrations and the far-reaching, creative and outrageously and gloriously imaginative prose.

One afternoon, I arrived home and this book was there. The Princess and I opened the front cover and immediately began reading it aloud and in unison as our eyes slowly took in the bursts of color on each page and we recited the lines, these fantastical lines (“of magic watermelon boats and musical babboons…”). We’d smile at these thoughts, these silly thoughts.

You see, the thing is, I’m a creative person. Being creative is both a wonderful and terrifying thing – and when I read these words, these words about dreaming big and how your dreams can change the way things are and the way that things are not – on a parental level and on just a “human being in the world” level, I think it hits in the same place. I want my kids to be dreamers, to reach beyond what they can see and to strive for that which may seem impossible.

But then.

I should too.

This is why children’s literature never stops being exciting for me – because the same basic lessons I hope my children absorb from it, those lessons are sinking in my own noggin as well.

This morning, I pulled the book out and set it on the counter so I would remember to write this review today. Pumpkin woke up and with an arm full of stuffed animals, silently turned through the pages reading the words to herself. I watched her – how her lips curled up in a smile at the delightful illustrations and silly copy – I watched my girl reading (silently! Finally, silent reading!) and enjoying herself, unprompted. Reading as in, “Here is a book that looks good to me, I think I’ll open it up to see what’s inside.”

I. Love. That.

On the back of this book, Dallas Clayton listed the appropriate reader age as 0-1000. I’m not gonna disagree. This may be a children’s book but it’s found a new home on my bookshelf.

So, if you like books that make you happy, that are encouraging and that work whether your a toddler in diapers or a great-grandparent in diapers… you should definitely check this one out.


I wasn’t paid to write this review but did receive  a copy of this book in the mail, outta-the-blue, free. I loved it and felt compelled to share.

Thursday Ten: There’s No Witty Subject Line edition

1. First and foremost, congrats to my dear sweet friend who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl yesterday. I’m guessing that she won’t see this post until the middle of the night while she’s awake with a baby… maybe days or weeks down the road… but, WHOOHOO! Congratulations and much love to your family.

2. I’m not always the biggest fan of Grand Rapids so I try to embrace the things about it that I love. This week, not only did I have a spectacular cappuccino (I may never look at Starbucks the same again), I found a great shop that makes these awesome desserts in house in their cute store. Had a taste of an amazing chili sea salt brownie the other day – frankly, that worried me slightly but it was SO GOOD (can you really go wrong with chocolate and sea salt?).
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3. Was thrilled and over the moon excited to see Chris Mann advance to the next round on The Voice. While I admittedly LOATHE Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” (as you know), Chris’s version was better than Coldplay’s (much as I adore him, though, I really really hope he doesn’t revisit the Coldplay catalog in the next round). Rooting for you, Chris!

4. What am I reading now? Well, I just started John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I’m not far enough into it to give a decent review, but so far, I’m interested in reading what happens next, and I’ll probably be able to tell you more about it next Thursday.

5. Massive winds whipped through Michigan earlier in the week – sent the kids’ trampoline flying across the backyard and into our fence. I don’t know if it’s gonna be salvageable, but man, The Princess is heartbroken at the thought of that trampoline being out of commission.

6. I have decided I need a new project! Why? It’s not as though I need more ways to spend time – god knows, my time is at a premium as is. I just need to find things that are fun and challenge my desire to utilize my creative brain in different ways. I’m not sure if it’s a photography project, or a baking project, or hey, maybe I need to tackle some new challenges to get myself back into the swing of writing again… I’m not sure. Ideas?

7. Sometimes I think that I should decorate with white Christmas lights all year also. While I guess the look could say, “I’m too lazy to take my lights down”, to me, it’s kinda joyous and whimsical and pretty.
A sprinkle of lights

8. I am so way overdue for having my eyebrows waxed. If you’ve seen me lately and wondered about the caterpillar on my head… I’m sorry. I really need to get better at making time for the important things.

9. It’s funny, I went over ten years without having a hamburger and right now (perhaps because I am chew-my-arm-off starving!) I am craving one. I did not plan for lunch very well today and have spent far more time than I care to admit thinking of food. Frankly, this post has been excessively about food… Sorry. Guess sometimes I just write what I know.

10. A month from today I’ll be wrapping up day 1 of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer – 26.2 miles. It’s a lot and I’m so very excited because even though it’s hard work, it’s a great deal of fun for such a good cause. Time’s flying! I’ve never seen Boston before, and I haven’t seen my walking team in awhile. So much looking forward to it.

Quieting the Noise and Spilling the Brain

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Saturday afternoon, I sat on a bench in Millennium Park in Chicago, people watching and taking photographs and just enjoying the slow pace of a spring afternoon. While I sat on that park bench, I realized that it was the first time in longer than I can recall in which I had no where to go, no where to be, nothing that needed to be done, no one needing anything from me in the immediate future. It was a strange – but somewhat freeing – feeling.

I have a tendency to fill my days; boredom terrifies me and I am not sure I would remember what it feels like to be bored – it’s been so long. If there’s nothing to do, I fill the time with something. Frankly, arbitrarily filling time is not something I have to do much of these days. The time, it fills itself. Having a less flexible schedule these days translates into a little bit of juggling to make things fit into the day somehow.

I once saw Denzel Washington on Oprah (shut up), and he said at the time that the motto in his family is “You have to do the things you have to do so you can do the things you want to do.”

There’s a lot of “have to do’s” these days.

That’s okay, it’s part of being all grown up.

FYI, being a grown up is stupid.

But, I need to make more time for the things I want to do because I hadn’t realized it until I had a few unclaimed hours just how much I missed being aimless with my camera.

I haven’t really written in I don’t know how long. I think y’all can tell from the puny numbers on the right there, how few blog posts I’m actually writing these days. I’m not even doing much writing that I’m not posting. When I write, it’s work writing and not writing for joy. I used to write for joy. I used to write because the words would bubble up under the surface until I unleashed them, through my finger tips, the keyboard, onto my screen one character at a time. I used to think I would write a book someday – these days, I’m lucky if I can remember to add “vanilla extract” to a grocery list.

My guitar case sits propped against the wall, getting covered by a layer of dust that I should find time to clear off. My fingertips, which had been getting nicely callused from playing are nearly soft again, and I wonder if I can even remember how to form chords anymore.

I still find time for my camera. I still find time for pictures. And it saves me sometimes because it’s a reminder that I’m not losing my perspective, my eye. It reminds me that I can still see and that I’m still absorbing and that at some point, I’ll find my groove and make all of these things fit back into my day again somehow.

But Saturday I stopped.

I breathed in. I watched the world around me. I moved as quickly and as slowly as I wanted. I took all the time and none of the time. I wondered about people and places and things. I felt rain drops on my face and I saw my reflection as I slowly walked past store windows, a face that was nearly at peace from the unrushed pace of a day.


Dear Chicago

Dear Chicago,
You’ll never guess.
You know the girl you said I’d meet someday?
Well, I’ve got something to confess.
She picked me up on Friday.
Asked me if she reminded me of you.
I just laughed and lit a cigarette,
Said “that’s impossible to do.”
Ryan Adams





















Thursday Ten: Free Time WHUT edition

1. Time is flying and I feel like every moment is accounted for. That’s a bit of a twitchy feeling. Granted, I’ve always been one to fill time – I hate being still – but man, would I love for things to slow down just a little bit.

2. Thanks for your help last week – between people who read my post and my coworkers, over $300 was raised on Friday to fight breast cancer. Using, I selected a winner to receive a special gift from me. I’ve already notified Erica and I look forward to sending her something. If you still feel like you’d like to donate, you may do so right –> HERE <–

3. Was thrilled to see Chris Mann make it through the first round of live performances on The Voice. He’s wickedly talented and tremendously nice and every time he makes it through another round, it really does give me a bit of a feeling of genuine joy – because he deserves the attention he’s getting right now. Hope this is the boost he needs to go on to do fantastic things. (Crystal Bowersox doesn’t look amused, does she? Sorry, Crystal. Also, where is my mascara in this picture? See how I say that? Like I would otherwise look better in this picture!)

4.  Just downloaded… Alabama Shakes’ album “Boys and Girls”. What are you listening to?

5. I haven’t gone through all my pictures from a mini-vacay to Chicago last weekend (see above and that whole not enough time thing). But I kind of love this picture that The Princess caught of me jumping on the hotel bed.
sometimes i get ridiculous

6. My car had to go into the shop for a day yesterday and I ended up riding in to work with my mom. I was reminded how much a quiet commute is a good thing. I love my music and a cup of coffee on my drive in to work. Massive amounts of conversation? Meh, maybe later.

7. So, Tigers baseball opens today. Some people are happy about this, right? (Not me. I’m neutral. Baseball…meh.)

8. Sooooo… two pictures of myself in one Thursday Ten post? That’s a bit much. Sorry.

9. Finally sat down with the fam to watch “We Bought A Zoo” last weekend and you know what? I loved it. The kids haven’t mentioned it at all since – but I want to buy it now that it came out on DVD. And not just because of Matt Damon, either. It was REALLY a good movie.

10. Realized that in the midst of fundraising and gearing up for that aspect of the Avon Walk, I have completely neglected training to walk 40 miles! Uh…whoops? I guess I better get on that or those long days of walking are going to be a little interesting!